Well we are a few weeks into this online school life thing here where I live and I am wondering how all y’all are doing? Are any of you moms feeling a bit discombobulated? Feeling like you are trying to get used to a new rhythm? Feeling like you’re trying to balance work and being a good parent and neither feel possible? That’s how I feel right about now. I feel like I get my kids settled, run to work, run home to check on kids, run back to work, forget to make dinner, run to store, make some lame dinner, do laundry, help with college applications, check work emails, feed the dogs, and crash into bed just to do it all over again.
We have asked our kids to rate their online school experience and one kid gives it a big fat 10… loves it. The other, a 1.5. We are feeling all the feels about all the changes over here at the Weston household. And sometimes I need to stop in the middle of change and remind myself a few things. I’m hoping the things I remind myself of in the crazy, will help you in what feels like your crazy.
Here are the things I’m saying to myself right about now:
- Thank God for teachers. No really, thank God. Sometimes we need to have something taken away to realize how blessed we were to have it in the first place. And aren’t you all just really thankful for the teachers who have invested in your kids over the last however many years? I can’t even help my kids turn on their school laptop let alone learn geometry. Teachers everywhere deserve capes. God thank you for each and every one of these heroes.
- Of course I’m juggling. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves how much we are balancing. Sometimes we get on autopilot and we forget who much we have had to pivot, flex, adjust, let go off, lose and change. So of course we are juggling more than we normally do. We are taking on the role of mom, dad, coach, tutor, counselor, pastor, friend, and tiktok dancer. Can we just stop for half a second as moms and recognize how much we have on our plate? It’s aaaaalotttttttt.
- Of course I can’t do it all. On some level, we are not going to be able to pull off doing everything we used to do that stressed us out before and then add all these new responsibilities. We just can’t. We need to let ourselves off the freaking hook. It’s ok, order a pizza for dinner. It’s ok, stop making your bed. You will still sleep. It’s ok, let your kids help clean. It’s ok, ask your husband to tutor. He will learn a thing or two about patience 😉 It’s ok, tell your boss you can’t be at all the meetings. Most likely your boss is having to make some changes herself. It’s ok, tell yourself, you cannot do it all. It won’t kill you to realize it be true.
- Everything else is changing, so I need to change my expectations. Everything around us has changed. Our work schedules have changed. Our way of schooling has changed. Our places of worship have changed. Our gatherings have changed. What we do for fun has changed. Our workload has changed. Our roles in our kids’ lives have changed. Our anxiety levels have changed. So maybe we also need to change our own expectations of ourselves. You would expect less of a friend going through so many changes, why can you not expect less of yourself? Let’s practice being a good friend to ourselves.
- We are in this together. One of the things that makes me feel better in the midst of feeling like I’m failing all my duties is knowing we are all in this crazy season together just doin’ our best. We are all juggling. We are all hurting. We are all over it. We are all wanting to ditch the masks and get back to life as we once knew it. We are all wishing our kids could be in school and our elderly could have visitors. We are all wishing our communities weren’t on fire and our gathering places could gather. We are all wishing we didn’t have to worry and fret anymore over how long this pandemic life will last. When I feel like a chicken with my head cut off running around trying to juggle way too many responsibilities, I remind myself that I am not alone. You are right there with me. And you and I, we can do this. We can do hard things. How do I know? Because I see you. I see the way you are brave when you have to be. I see how hard you work for your people. I see the way you have faced adversity and came out victorious. I see how much you fight to do the right thing. This hardship, we share it. This season, we feel it. These changes, we bend, we learn, we push through… we rise up, together.
- God has something for me. When I am feeling pulled in a million directions, when I am feeling like everything is out of my control, when I feel scared about the effects of all this, when I grieve the losses, I can easily find myself sinking into one big bummer hole. And I’ve talked to many friends who are already there.
You know, the Washington State Department of Health, in their Behavioral Health Impact Report anticipates that “rates of depression are likely to be much higher (potentially 30–60% of the general population) due to the chronic and ongoing social and economic disruption in people’s lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It’s going to start raining on the daily in the PNW, we are about to walk through a divisive election in the middle of a pandemic and the healthcare professionals are expecting us to be a mess soon. That’s encouraging.
I bring this up because you and I, we need to know that all this change, sickness, fear, loss, and craziness could find us in some hard mental and emotional places down the road in short order. And you know what will get us there pretty fast? Drowning ourselves in negativity, bad news, fake news, self pity, canceled plans and nothing to look forward to. Moping about everything that is hard and sucks and rating things at a 1.5 might be helpful for a moment, but staying there is dangerous. We need to be a people who go looking for the gift, the meaning, the good, the hope in all this.
“We are a people of hope. We are a people who don’t lose hope because we believe we have a God who has a plan. We believe we have a God who brings life rather than death. We are a people who believe God can take what is hard and sick and terrible and make it something beautiful. We are a people who believe that God can take what was meant for harm and He can use it for good. We are a people who believe God has something for us. This is as true now as it has ever been.”
In all this change, in all the confusion, in all the cancellations, God has something for you – you personally. He has something He wants to say, something He wants to do. He has something He wants to grow in you, something He wants to sanctify, rectify or release. He has a direction He wants to guide you toward or a door He wants you to see is closed because another one is opening. He has a plan, a word, a relationship, a break, a pause, a lesson, a gift in this. Let us not miss the gifts being given to us because we are so busy counting what has been taken.
So friends, as you navigate all this craziness, be your own friend and remind yourself what you would remind others. You are going through so much right now. You can’t do it all. You are not alone. And certainly God has something for you in all this. Grab hold of hope and let it keep you from traveling to the hard places.